Normally, I wouldn't have included this trip report on my site. I climb Moosilauke many times each year, usually just a quick hike up when I'm in the area. Since I've been up the mountain over 100 times over the past 20 years, I don't write them all up, unless I'm on skis. But something about this trip was special, it was a little bit of trail magic, and I guess I just wanted to share it.
I was staying at some friends' house in Vermont and wanted to get a hike in on Sunday before heading back south. I got a late start, but it only takes a few hours to climb Moosilauke so I didn't think much of it. On the way up 118 from Warren to the Ravine Lodge I passed two hikers on the side of the road, hitching. Since I had plenty of time, I stopped and picked them up, two thru-hikers who needed a lift to the McDonalds in Lincoln to meet up with friends. What the heck I figured, time to do a good deed, it'll come back to me someday. I didn't realize how soon.
They were cool, and appreciated the work I'd done on the AT for many years, and they were psyched to get the entire ride in a single lift. I think the Aretha Franklin on the CD player didn't hurt. After dropping them off I headed back to MRL, and when I got inside I ran into a good friend from Dartmouth, the guy who hosts this site in fact. If I hadn't taken the hikers to Lincoln I would have missed him. He and his kids were hiking up the Al Merrill Loop for the past hour and just returned to the Lodge before heading home. My Karma was repaid! Or so I thought.
So, time to climb the mountain. I just planned a trip up Gorge and down Snapper, the usual route. I maintain the Snapper trail, and needed to cut some overhanging branches but didn't have a saw. Instead I just planned to do a quick survey and come back later. I didn't see any other hikers until over halfway up the mountain, a rarity on a nice summer day like this. I stopped at the various views, along the logging road and the overlook into Jobildunc Ravine. From that spot you get your first clear views of Franconia Ridge. Above that, the trail cuts across the Balcony where you can get a nice view back down to the Ravine Lodge. When I came out above treeline it was beautiful and calm. There were of course more views of Franconia Ridge and most of the Pemi. When I got to the top, there were some folks hanging around up there. I took some pictures of the summit details for the website, especially the summit house stone foundations. I decided to get a little more isolation, so I headed down to the old summit shelter foundations, then out the AT north and sat down by a cairn to eat my lunch.
Two hikers came up over the horizon on the Benton Trail headed for the summit. I could hear them talking and one asked a question about the summit house. I answered them, then looked up and saw that it was Mohamed and Roger, two hikers I know from VftT and other online pursuits. After overcoming the shock, I hiked back to the summit with them, had lunch up there, and planned a trip with Mo for the following week. We ran into a thru-hiker on the summit who mentioned some folks doing trailwork along the ridge so I said my goodbyes and headed down. I ran into two Dartmouth students doing the decadely clearing of brush along the ridge and joined them clipping and throwing. After about 30 minutes a hiker came through looking for the thru-hiker I had talked to on the summit. I told him that he had continued on the Beaver Brook Shelter and this hiker continued on. A minute later he came back to say thanks for trailwork and asked if we would like a beer. I must say, it was one the best tasting lite beers I've ever had.
We finished the section up to treeline then I took my leave. I borrowed a saw from them and headed down, first going to South Peak for more isolation and views. I hit Snapper soon enough and started cutting some overhanging branches and a few blowdowns. The trail was in pretty good shape, so although I wish I could do more work on it, it was doing OK. Upon reaching the Lodge I saw an old friend from college setting up piles of pizzas on tables out in front. This was clearly my Karma still working, perhaps going into overtime. Martha was hosting a dinner for teachers from Holderness, and I managed to acquire a slice or two before heading up to the car and out. Instant Karma, Trail Magic, call it what you will.
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